During my 3 night stay at Kelley’s Island, I develop a little routine. Each morning I sleep in, feed Tango, make coffee, and eat oatmeal/yogurt for breakfast. Tango and I walk all around the area. Next, I drive to the Marina where I can get one more cup of coffee and Internet via the MiFi (4G).
I sit on a little beach where Tango can wander around, and I check emails and gaze off across the water. I notice the water is clear with a pebble strewn bottom. Blue herons fly over and geese honk loudly. All is calm.
Wait…..is that a nuclear reactor I see, on the opposite shore to the west? Holy macaroni, I hate it when reality invades my bliss. I Google “nuclear power plants in Ohio” and find that Ohio has two nuclear power plants. Both are on Lake Erie. Today, I am looking at the David-Besse plant, near Sandusky, OH. I learn that this nuke plant opened in 1978 and is the 57th commercial nuclear power plant in the United States. Nuclear power plants look so ominous to me, and I turn away, content to simply block it out of my reality.//
At lunch time, I look for fresh fish. I have also found the best sweet potato fries in ever ever ever, here on Kelley’s Island.
The Village Pump, home of fab sweet potato fries and yummy walleye or perch
After lunch, the routine includes going back to the campsite to read, write, and perhaps snooze. Tango and I explore a little more on foot, finding another little beach. Dinner always includes the mashed potatoes done wrong, and a creamy, flavorful Blue Moon Valencia brew. Near dark, it is time for a campfire.In bed I read more and do a few Sudoku puzzles. I have little trouble sleeping and staying asleep. The only annoyance is those darn red-winged blackbirds. They sure make a racket and flit about like they have had too much caffeine. I don’t see the other birds but hear a couple of other songbirds out there hyped up on caffeine as well.
Now and then I watch the other people in the campground. For the weekend there are 5 camps set up on my loop. The people keep to themselves. Early campers are an independent sort trying to find some solitude before the vacation masses come out. I will see the same type of person again in the fall, when they (and I) try for some more solitude after summer vacation ends.
I take some time to contrast camping here with camping in my home state of Wyoming. The most interesting thing to me is the carefree approach to campfires. Everyone has a campfire but no one is huddled around for warmth. The campers are sitting away from the fires, which seem to be mostly for ambiance One couple has a roaring fire, but they are off to the side, about 20 feet away inside a screen house that was placed over their picnic table. Several times I see fellow campers take off and leave their fire burning. One took off all day in his boat. Another drove off for about 20 minutes, presumably to the bathhouse. I guess a hot spark that lands on cool, verdant grass and moist soil is no threat. I watch a spark from my own campfire the last night here and see that it lands, fizzles, and disappears.
In Wyoming during the prime camping months, county ordinace prohibits campfires. Last year during the drought, the fire ban lasted well into the fall. When the county finally lifted the ban, I camped out at reservoir nearby and celebrated by roasting half a bag of marshmallows, one at a time, of course.
When a campfire is allowed, you never leave it. Our wind could whip up so fast and the fire would spread in mere seconds. For many moons I have lived in the land of wildfires and Smokey the Bear warning signs. So, I like having casual campfires here on Kelley;s Island, although I have not yet sauntered into the General Store to buy a bag of forbidden marshmallows.
//In town I find the party crowd, all wearing hats for Derby Day. At the waterfront café I hear boaters exchanging yarns about extreme wind and their favorite marinas. This is early spring and the partiers are digging every minute. An especially loud group is on the patio at the Buckeye Bar.
I have learned a bit about Kelleys Island history, which is like most of American history. This Island was the home of Native Americans until our ancestors discovered it. White guys, like Kelley, came and violently removed the natives. There is a display near town with pictographs, drawn by ancient dwellers of the Lake Erie Islands. Here and there I find old houses and buildings, made of cut rock. The historical society does not open this weekend so I don’t know their exact age. I am guessing mid 1800s or earlier.
If you grew up in northern Ohio, as I did, you know that the Great Lakes were formed by retreating glaciers from the last ice age. I find the following at geography.about.com:
“The Great Lakes Basin (the Great Lakes and the surrounding area) began to form about two billion years ago – almost two-thirds the age of the earth. During this period, major volcanic activity and geologic stresses formed the mountain systems of North America, and after significant erosion, several depressions in the ground were carved. Some two billion years later the surrounding seas continuously flooded the area, further eroding the landscape and leaving a lot of water behind as they went away.”
“More recently, about two million years ago, it was glaciers that advanced over and back across the land. The glaciers were upwards of 6,500 feet thick and further depressed the Great Lakes Basin. When the glaciers finally retreated and melted approximately 15,000 years ago, massive quantities of water were left behind. It is these glacier waters that form the Great Lake today.”
As a testament to this glacial activity is a little monument where I see glacial grooves, or indentations made by retreating glaciers. The Kelleys Island State Park website describes them this way:
Evidence of the glaciers can still be seen in the grooves and striations in the island’s limestone bedrock. A large tract of grooves, 15 feet deep and 35 feet wide, has been exposed by an historic quarrying operation, and is believed to be the largest example of glacial striations in the world.
So this is the last morning at my little beach near the Marina. Tango and I sit here looking at the ferry running back and forth to the mainland. Soon, we will be aboard. About 100 miles southeast is my Seven Sleep. I will be “home” for a week, sleeping in my old room up in the attic for the last time. While there, I will pack, toss, haul, tape and sort, while moving mom and stepdad to their one-level place. I vow to remember that this move is a much bigger deal for my mom and stepdad than it is for me.
I don’t know yet what form it will take, but I will be wogging and blogging my way through this week too. On the 13th or 14th I will head back home to Wyoming. Since I will have some family keepsakes in the van I won’t camp on the way home. Surely I will find some adventure along the way, and I have another “road trip” game for the return trip.